Looking back on my study abroad trip, one thing that I am so thankful that I continuously tried to do while abroad is trying to emerge myself into each of the different cultures that I visited. This can be difficult at times due to language barriers and unknown cultural norms for each country. While abroad, you will be able to experience cultures that you have never seen before, and it is so fun and interesting to try to learn from them and to fit in as best you can.
While abroad, I challenged myself to only eat “local” food, or food that was only made in each city that I was visiting. I am not a picky eater so this was not very difficult for me. While in Germany, I mostly ate bratwurst, sausage, and potatoes. As we moved into Italy, I transitioned to only pizza and pasta. On one of my favorite day trips to London, we all tried the famous “Fish and Chips”. They were delicious! As a study abroad student, challenge yourself to reach out of your comfort zones to try new foods. They may not be similar to food back in the states, but it is always so fun to try and experience new things.
Another challenge that many of the students tried to learn to do was to pick up on certain words that were easy and commonly used from each country we visited. Attempting to learn words such as “thank you” and “please” show the people in other countries that you are trying to become accustom to their culture. When the individuals of these international countries can see that you are trying, they are much more willing to help and accommodate to you as a traveler and student.
After my trip, the biggest advice that I can give a student traveling abroad is to first try to emerge into their culture as much as possible, interact with local citizens in these countries to learn more about their culture, respect them and their culture, and simply take in every moment. The trip will fly by and you will be back home before you know it! Enjoy and have the time of your life.